My own childhood was spent in several small Cheshire towns all close to Hyde and I remember, so well, how the people there spoke and behaved. I remember how we kids played in the streets, or in the woods or down by the river, or out on our bikes from morning till night without parents giving it a thought. I remember the streets of terraced houses, every one of them containing (as Emlyn Williams's bewildered policeman commented, when summoned so urgently to number 16, Wardle Brook Avenue) "a budgie and a Grannie". I remember the bread deliveries in the mornings, the everlasting soft rain, the factory smoke, the children in pixie hoods, how people reacted and how everybody spoke.
Writing immediately after the Moors trial and before so many further facts became known Emlyn Williams, in 1967, got all this nevertheless so exactly right; he was not a great playwright for nothing. If I read his book I am back in that place, at that time. What a pity, really, that such terrible events had to happen around the Hyde district before such a book came to be written but in spite of that, and whatever its factual omissions or inaccuracies, I still think it is a masterpiece.